Truth in History

Histories are the collective sets of past truths that historians study attempt to reach a conclusion. This process is known as history. Truths  may be defined as a perception of reality, thus because there are often and always multiple perspectives of history, in history there is no absolute truth. Well, actually there is- just that it differs  from the truth that other areas of knowledge such as the natural and human sciences aim to reach in their scientific process. While the truth aimed at attaining by the natural sciences may be a much more concrete theory  when compared with the human sciences, in both areas of knowledge a theory’s validity is often supported by repeated experimentation. This however, is impossible in the field of history, and thus historians may not produce a thesis that withholds the same type of truth as the sciences. Rather, a historian examines objects or past events in a way that a more general argument about the particular area of study may be formed. Truth is maintained in this argument in publishing it as a book or a paper, in which other historians may choose to agree or disagree with the study at hand. If the history reaches the point where it has sustained criticisms from other historians and the historians may defend his claims, in addition to many individuals accepting it to be the truth, then it effectively embodies the truth. However, not a single historical ‘theory’ existing today is able to attain this ‘truth’, but instead, in history absolute truth may not be attained and may only be aimed at attaining. Thus, history is the study of a collection of past truths, in which the individual truths of arguments made from these studies may help in their social influence, but do not contribute to an absolute truth.

Advertisement

2 thoughts on “Truth in History

  1. Justin Chong says:

    Detailed and very clear explanation of “truth” in history! Insightful contrast to “truth” in other AOKs, how how they are achieved, as compared to history. However, I think the claim that no single history theory has achieved a status of “truth” may not be true. Although not agreed to by every single historian, some facts are generally regarded as correct by the majority of historians, like Hitler visiting Paris in 1941. I think this fits into the description of “where it has sustained criticisms from other historians and the historians may defend his claims, in addition to many individuals accepting it to be the truth, then it effectively embodies the truth.” (Just a minor point, everything else is awesome!)

  2. Tafacory says:

    History is such a fascinating field. Historiography even more so. I’m glad you noted that it’s very difficult to arrive at absolute truth in the study of history. There are just so many different interpretations and accounts of crucial events, so even if historians were able to gather all the necessary accounts and evidence, they’d still struggle to find a way to completely combine different and even contradictory views of the event. Well said.

    -Tafacory

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: